At the Copa, Copacabana…..

View from Cerro Calvario- a punishing walk up at an already high altitude of 3800m.

After a couple of weeks in Peru, we’ve (temporarily) left to zoom on over in Bolivia. First stop was Copacabana- no, not the Copacabana from Barry Manilow fame, but rather a small backpacker hangout 9km over the border. This felt more like SE Asia than anywhere we’ve been so far (apart from actual SE Asia.) Lots of 21 year olds (“oh my god, I was literally so wasted last night. I just have so much love to give when I drink.” Get a grip. Wake up. Stop irritating the rest of us. Noone cares.) There were loads of terrace cafes, average Mexican food, exceptional pizza and good vibes, as well as beautiful coast lines such as this:

Copacabana sits on the other side of Lake Titicaca, which is where we were when we went to the floating islands last week. This lake is so big that it’s shared between Peru and Bolivia. The water was gorgeously clean although very very cold.

The main reason we stopped in Copacabana was to visit Isla del Sol- described by many people we’ve met as a ‘must do.’ Like the Inca trail, it did not disappoint.

We took an incredibly badly organised but cheap boat out to the island, which sits 2.5 hours out into Lake Titicaca. From here, we hiked around 5 hours from north to south via another Inca trail and were treated to views like this pretty much everywhere we looked:

I know, I know, I look so stylish.

In hindsight, we should have stayed over on the island as there were some lovely looking hostals but due to our poor planning, we were unable to cancel our hostal booking back in Copacabanaa (a very very nice little place that was only $25 a night inc breakfast. My, how we’ve changed!) We’ve got to pass back through Copacabana when we go back to Peru so we might come back to the island again and stay.

After a couple of lovely days, it was time to catch the bus to La Paz, the de facto capital of Bolivia. After about an hour on the bus, we were told to get off so that we could cross the lake in a speedboat whilst our bus went on this:

Hhhm, safe.

It wasn’t until we were on the speedboat that I realised all of our luggage was on the bus. I could see this also dawning on other people.

Nothing could have prepared us for La Paz. It’s been about 8 weeks since we were in a busy city and we’d somehow forgotten what they were like. La Paz is BUSY. To me, it’s on a par with Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam although Sam doesn’t think it’s as bad. Luckily, we’re staying in a really nice leafy part, called Sopocachi- a mostly residential area with nice cafes and AN ACTUAL SUPERMARKET (at this point in the trip, we actually miss ParknShop in HK.) We found an amazing Airbnb, which Sam is in love with. It’s a 3 bedroom apartment with so much light, a welcome basket, A WASHING MACHINE (unheard of) and a gorgeous terrace. All this for only $35 a night. Bargain!

Right now, that’s one of my only positive impressions of La Paz. We walked for hours and hours yesterday exploring the city, only to find it was dirty, polluted and crazy busy. Some friends had recommended a walking tour so we joined that in the afternoon and, in fairness, there are some interesting parts such as the witches market (dried Llama foetus anyone?) but overall we just weren’t impressed and actually left the tour early. We didn’t even take any photos- this NEVER happens. Even in Vientiane, the capital of Laos, we took a few (read our post to find out the striking impression it left on us.)

Today we’re going to take a cable car and explore the area we’re staying in- there’s no way I’m going back into the craziness of the centre. Tomorrow it’s (thankfully) out of La Paz into the mountains to stay in a teepee for a couple of days before we head down to Sucre for RELAX time!

Some great news- USA is booked! 6 weeks of adventure to finish our trip in style- NY (with the Dixons in tow to hopefully treat us to some nice meals- hint hint Mum and Dad,) Washington DC to catch up with some lovely people we’ve met over the past few years of travels, New Orleans, Santa Monica and San Fran! Yippee!

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